Thursday February 23 2017, Daily News Digest


News Comments Today’s main news: RealtyMogul unveils new retirement investment options for MogulREIT. Funding Circle tops 2B GBP in lending. Today’s main analysis: Jury still out on robo-advice. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Twino enters Spanish market. China Lufax shifting its business focus. Savills bullish on global REITs. United States RealtyMogul adds retirement investment options to MogulREIT & new assets. […]


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United Kingdom

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United States Unveils New Retirement Investment Options for MogulREIT I & Adds Two New Assets (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Real estate crowdfunding platform announced on Wednesday it will now be accepting retirement funds from self-directed IRAs as a new investment option for its MogulREIT I trust. The funding portal reported that the new investment option would allow investors to gain exposure to commercial real estate and enjoy potential benefits of passive income in their retirement accounts.

In addition to the investment options, also announced a new feature that allows investors in MogulREIT I to automatically reinvest their dividends, thereby offering the possibility of compounded returns, making the REIT even more investor friendly. The platform noted the addition of two new properties to its REIT including Parkway Plaza, a $3.4 million mezzanine debt investment related to the acquisition of a office complex with national tenancy located in San Antonio, Texas.

Everything You Need to Know About Real Estate Crowdfunding (Dough Roller), Rated: A

In a sense, crowdfunding is doing for real estate investing what Lending Club and Prosper are doing for personal loans. They are acting as online peer-to-peer marketplaces that match investors with borrowers, often under better financial terms than what they can get through traditional lending institutions, such as banks.

The platforms are primarily used by individual investors. However, they are growing more popular with institutional investors, such as banks and insurance companies.

Real estate crowdfunding offers a  number of great benefits. But real estate crowdfunding is not without its drawbacks either. Some of those include:

  • Capital calls. Due to the complexity of real estate projects, an investment may require more capital than originally anticipated.
  • You must typically be an accredited investor.
  • Investments aren’t liquid. Real estate investments tend to be long-term in nature, and are not traded on national exchanges. Once you commit money to an investment, you will usually be required to remain invested until it matures.
  • Your investment isn’t guaranteed. Though you can make higher investment earnings, you can also lose your initial investment.

RealtyShares is an online real estate investment platform that focuses its business on smaller projects. These include things like single-family house fix-and-flips, rather than large projects, such as retail shopping centers or apartment complexes.

RealtyMogul is an online real estate capital marketplace. The platform was launched in 2013 and now has more than 100,000 investors holding more than $250 million in real estate, and has paid out $55 million to investors.

PeerStreet is open to accredited investors who can invest in high-quality private real estate loans. Those loans are typically secured by first liens on real estate.

6 Ways to Make (Legit) Money While You Sleep (PalmBeachPost), Rated: B

Also known as “marketplace lending,” peer-to-peer lending is the practice of individuals loaning money to others in place of a bank or other financial institution. In recent years, platforms like Prosper and Lending Club have made these crowdfunded loans more widely available to borrowers and opened the possibilities for investors.

“New, technology-driven intermediaries have been coming in and replacing banks to make small loans to businesses or individuals, and they offer many comparative advantages,” Brown says.

Remember, though, that while investing through a peer-to-peer marketplace can pay off, there are still risks involved and borrowers may default on their debts. One way to protect yourself, Brown says, is by requiring that borrowers’ credit quality is above a certain level, depending on your appetite for risk. You can also reduce risk by diversifying your investment across many different loans.

How Xero + Kabbage power a bright idea (Xero), Rated: B

By combining Xero’s business insights with Kabbage’s flexible access to funding, Adam and Jamie can effectively understand and manage their cash flow needs to avoid dipping into their profits as they grow.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Has Topped £2 Billion in Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

SME lender Funding Circle has reportedly topped £2 billion in lending. The SME marketplace lender is closing in on UK’s largest online lender Zopa that announced in January it had surpassed the £2 billion mark. Of course Funding Circle is an international operation with lending occurring in the US and elsewhere in continental Europe. So far, Zopa has satisfied itself with just the UK market.

The jury is still out on robo-advice (Pensions expert), Rated: AAA

For those unable to afford the cost of face-to-face financial advice, robo-advice, which provides algorithm-based digital financial advice with minimal human intervention, offers a lower-cost alternative, but the new technology comes with its own caveats.

Eighty-three per cent of consumers are concerned about cyber security, with 89 per cent of consumers saying it was important for them to recognise and trust the online brand, according to research conducted by Altus Consulting.

By 2020, many retirees will be asset-rich, cash-poor and “much more engaged digitally than they have been in the past”, Evans explained.

Robots cannot replace face-to-face advice

However, Evans noted that many people are not going to be able to afford this, resulting in robo-advice inevitably becoming a necessity. “Robo-advice will become the default for the mass market” and artificial intelligence “will have a large part to play in how that pans out in the next few years”, he said.

Buy to Let Club adds MTF and LendInvest to bridging panel (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Buy to Let Club has added MTF and LendInvest to its panel and appointed an in-house bridging specialist to extend its offering to Club members.

The panel expansion has been accompanied by the appointment of a new in-house bridging specialist, Victoria Barnard, to further improve Buy to Let Club’s offering to its members.

P2P lending news midweek roundup (altfi), Rated: A

UK P2P business lending Growth is still in rude health as proven by AltFi Data’s number crunching, in the same week that Funding Circle tops £2bn mark.

In the funds world, P2P GI has continued its share buyback strategy while the SME Loan Fund may be about to see an investment management change by New York-based SQN.

European Union

Twino enters Spanish market (ArcticStartup), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender Twino has started to offer investors short-term Spanish consumer loans, offering its investors a chance to further diversify their portfolios, the Latvian startup said on Wednesday.

The Spanish short-term loans will have a maximum duration of one month and will offer investors a return rate of 8% per annum. The loans will be covered by Twino’s  buy-back guarantee, which protects investors from borrower default risk.


Savers may be turning backs on bank deposits (RNZ), Rated: A

The country’s biggest banks, ANZ, and ASB, saw deposits shrink in the September quarter.

The associate professor at the School of Economics and Finance at Massey University, David Tripe, said savers turned to other investment classes to bolster returns, including property and stocks.

The banks took notice.

They slowed lending by voluntarily tightening lending restrictions on investors following a Reserve Bank consultation paper released on 19 July, and excluded foreign income from affordability calculations for home loans.

They also boosted deposit rates.

KPMG’s John Kensington suspects the dip in bank deposit growth will be temporary.

But he thinks savings habits may be changing.

Mr Kensington added that some younger New Zealanders were turning to riskier, but potentially more lucrative, investments like peer-to-peer lending to get a foot on the increasingly unaffordable housing market.


Top P2P lender shifting to new business (China Economic Review), Rated: AAA

China’s Lufax, short for Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co., is valued at $18.5 billion, far more than peers like San Francisco-based LendingClub. At the end of October, it had an estimated 13% share – the largest – of China’s $109 billion market for matching small borrowers with lenders. But the company is pivoting away, shifting into China’s booming retail-investing market with online accounts that let clients trade stocks, mutual funds and fixed-income products.


Savills bullish on global REITs in face of market uncertainty (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Investors are looking to global REITs (real estate investment trusts) as an alternative asset class in the face of market volatility and uncertainty in 2017.

Although investors can invest directly into individual REITs, by providing them with a fund that invests in a portfolio of global REITs, Savills gives them more liquidity, better distribution, and more diversification compared to if they invest directly into individual REITs.

Most REITs generally provide about 5% return annually and a steady income stream that is not subject volatility and market uncertainty.

Savills recently won two mandates to invest in Japanese real estate. These mandates, with a combined total of US$600 million, were awarded by an existing client and a new client.

Malaysian uses Harvard business know-how to crowdfund for SMEs (Free Malaysia Today), Rated: A

A Malaysian-born entrepreneur and his Indonesian business partner have started a crowd-funding company to provide financial assistance to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Harvard business school graduate Kelvin Teo has embarked on an online lending platform called Funding Societies Malaysia which hopes to help Malaysian SMEs thrive and allows the average person an opportunity to become an investor.

Teo and his partner, Reynold Wijaya, whom he met at Harvard, started the company in June 2015. In less than two years, the company has arranged more than 400 loans in Singapore and Indonesia, worth a total of almost RM90 million.

Today, Teo launched the Malaysian chapter of his company, targeting 200 SMEs in 12 months, with an average of RM100,000 to RM200,000 per loan.


How these two SA startups made it onto the world’s best 100 fintech companies list (SME South Africa), Rated: AAA

Zoona and Wealth Migrate, have just been named in the 2016 Fintech100, an annual top 100 Fintech Innovators list that compiles the leading 50 established fintech companies across the globe, as well as the most intriguing 50 ‘Emerging Stars’.

Who is Zoona: Launched in 2009, Zoona is a Cape Town-based money transfer company operating primarily in Zambia and other Sub-Saharan countries.

2012: The company raises US$4 million in an international Series A round led by Omidyar Network and Quona Capital allowing the business to not only expand its planning horizon but also giving them resources to concentrate on ideas and innovations that, according to CEO Mike Quinn, resulted in a big inflection point in their growth.

2016: Having grown from a team of 2 to over 150 people with 25 nationalities across four countries, Zoona successfully raises $15-million (R200-million) in a second round of financing led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, as well as first round investors Accion, a global nonprofit and pioneer in the field of financial inclusion, and Omidyar Network, an impact investment firm started by eBay founder Pierre scale our operations into new markets and develop new innovative products.

Who is Wealth Migrate: This is a global online real estate investment marketplace that was launched in 2010 and aims to give investors direct access to real estate investment opportunities in markets around the world. It is, according to research firm Massolution, the tenth-largest global real estate crowdfunding platform.

2015: Wealth Migrate raises $3.99 million (USD) in a seed round of funding from real estate, technology and other investors.

2015: With offices already in Singapore and Hong Kong, Wealth Migrate open new offices in Shanghai further expanding its reach into the lucrative Asian market, according to founder Scott Picken.

2017: The platform’s management team is hoping to use the power of crowdfunding to fill the funding gaps present in many prime real estate markets.


George Popescu
Allen Taylor